Politics

Jimi Wanjigi: The mad man in Uhuru succession race

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Famous wheeler-dealer Jimi Richards Wanjigi alias James Bond is finding the going tough in the political terrain, having been abandoned by friends after he ran broke.

However,Jimi is reaching out to Sports pesa CEO Ronald Karauri to have the firm fund him. The firm wants Jimi to be a key player in Uhuru succession race and come 2022 use him to lobby return of its full operations in Kenya.Sports Pesa has been at war with Uhuru administration. To complicate matters for Wanjigi are claims, he is running uncoordinated presidential campaign with no secretariat, trying to gatecrash ODM party by opening parallel offices to win popularity and eyeing to be brought on bargain table.

Others say Jimi is out to rebrand his image and get the backing from his foreign links once accommodated in the new power arrangement. Due to his style of campaign that rotates on the bid to hijack ODM presidential ticket from Raila Odinga, a tall order which only a mad man can think of, Wanjigi has earned a tag, The Mad Man in Uhuru succession race. Jimi whom sections of the media have been calling a billionaire is broke like a church mouse, something that has seen those who used to hang around him vanish into thin air.

Even at his Muthaiga home which he grabbed from the late cowboy contractor Sunil Behal, few visitors go there since he does not give wads of notes as he used to do in his heyday. Jimi was even unable to pay the infamous men-in-black whom he had hired to provide security, and the gang has now left him. The men-in-black came to the public limelight when they were hired by Raila to disrupt ODM delegates meeting at Kasarani gymnasium. Sources revealed that Jimi has also formed a habit of ducking after meeting ODM delegates in hotels, forcing them to dig into their pockets for their bus fare back home and pay for refreshments. He has become unpopular among ODM delegates that few now attend his meetings.

Instead, his meetings are attended by those who have not yet discovered he is in dire financial need. When travelling to upcountry destinations, Jimi is now using commercial airlines like Kenya Airways after his choppers were grounded due to lack of money for maintenance. Also, private airlines have blacklisted him since he cannot afford to pay if he charters their choppers. So financially depleted is Jimi that he was recently in the news for failing to pay a debt he owes to a clothing shop based in Nairobi. Jimi was sued by Fazal – The Luxury Boutique – a high-end clothing company in Nairobi, alleging he had bought clothes from the store and failed to pay Sh1.37 million.

Though he moved to file an appeal at the High Court, refuting the claims that he owed the clothing company any money, sources revealed that the lawyer who was representing him has withdrawn over nonpayment of legal fees. Fazal claimed it sold the clothes to Jimi in 2019, and let him leave with the clothes without paying as they viewed him as a valuable longtime client and that he would eventually pay for them.

Jimi is alleged to have carried five pairs of trousers and two jackets from the Fazal store and failed to pay for them. Ravello, the parent company that owns Fazal, claimed in court it tried to reach Jimi multiple times to no avail and that all the WhatsApp messages sent to him were not heeded. Fazal had taken Jimi to a lower court where Milimani principal magistrate DM Kivuti on January 22 2021, ruled on the matter, ordering him to settle the debt. Jimi, however, failed to honour the magistrate court’s decision.

Fazal claimed it was owed Sh67, 500 for a pair of Zegna trousers, and Sh1.3 million for other five pairs of trousers and two jackets Jimi acquired from the Ravello-owned store. But Jimi claimed a pair of trousers could not fit him but he failed to return the trousers or even pay for them, owing Fazal a total of Sh1.37 million. Jimi, sources revealed, thought other presidential aspirants would reach out to him with monetary offers to back them once he declared interest in the presidency but he is now disappointed since none of the heavyweights have bothered to call him.

So struggling to keep his rich man image in the public that Wanjigi staged a car gifting to comedian Eric Omondi. The car he supposedly gifted Eric to push his campaign was borrowed from Steve Mbogo whom we learn is a business partner. Mbogo is not known for any legitimate business but shoddy deals in town.

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Wanjigi ‘gifting’ Eric Omondi a car borrowed from Steve Mbogo.
Steve Mbogo poses with his car way before it was leased to Eric for the Wanjigi campaign.

The tenderpreneur, insiders revealed, is now finding it difficult to meet the expenses of his media team that is led by former Daily Nation journalist Mugumo Munene, and it is just a matter of days before they desert him. The media team is only running his campaigns to reciprocate the handouts he used to dish to them when they were in newsrooms. Sources revealed that Jimi cannot afford to rent offices for his campaign secretariat. He has not employed even a clerk or receptionist to help him manage the campaigns, which is a pointer of the dire financial situation he finds himself in.

Apart from Munene, Jimi is working alone since he does not have money to pay for services including clerical works. Jimi has also not attracted political heavyweights to accompany him and hence has no one to welcome him to the venues or to mobilise ODM delegates to attend his meetings. While in Nyanza, Jimi clapped his hands after police lobbed teargas at rowdy youth who had blocked his motorcade along Siaya-Kisumu Road demanding handouts. Jimi, who had just finished addressing ODM delegates at Siaya town when the youths blocked his motorcade chanting “give us something” before riot officers arrived and restored order, did not have money to dish out to the youths who believe he is a billionaire.

That is why his motorcade sped off as the youths scampered for safety during the melee. Siaya county is the home of ODM leader Raila Odinga who despite having not declared his candidature, has hinted he would be vying in 2022 polls. Jimi, who has declared interest in the ODM presidential ticket, has been traversing the country and meeting fake ODM delegates in preparation for the 2022 general election.

While addressing the ODM delegates in Siaya town, Jimi said he is among those who stood with Raila during and after the 2017 general election. In his Coast tour, all the ODM officials and leaders snubbed him in Mombasa and Kilifi counties. However, sources revealed he has done little to get the information since he does not have resources to even to print copies of the party’s delegates list. Wanjigi is not even selling his manifesto.

Insiders say, Jimi whose chopper was auctioned at Wilson Airport and his high-end restaurant The Carmel due to rent distress has been approached by one of the briefcase registered political parties to take over but due to his financial constraints failed to agree. Weekly Citizen has information, one of the conditions in Uhuru Kenyatta, Raila handshake deal was for Jubilee to sideline William Ruto in the deal while Raila would keep off Wanjigi as Uhuru demanded. The fear being, the two were to hijack the process and start boasting to be brain behind it.

Other briefs indicate, the two are linked to corruption and Western capitals were not comfortable, the worst being Wanjigi and Ruto Chinese connections. It is worth noting that Western capitals were key players behind the handshake deal.


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